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..:: Revelations ::..

By

Alan Schneider

                                                                                                            

             Whether this occurs through the influence of the mechanism of the physical senses, or through the influence of neurology, or the influence psychology and the ego – or more probably all of these – we seem to be subject to a perspective through which we experience both the internal and external environments. Since the total realm of human affairs obviously encompasses substantially more than the perspective of any one human being, however powerful and influential this person may be, we must agree with the assertion that the individual human experience of life is one of sensory fragmentation. While our respective cultures certainly generate collective effects on the world population, these are frequently unpredictable and problematic in character. We swim about in an ocean of uncertainty and anxiety amid the Post-Modern condition.  

            The epiphany is a window of clarification amid the confusion of life. The epiphany is an experience of revelation and extraordinary insight into here-to-fore concealed and mysterious circumstances that have been previously impenetrable to our understanding. How do these windows of clarification occur? They are enabled when we successfully “think outside the box” of perceptual habits and inhibitions. This mechanism of perceiving “outside the box” is customarily the result of years of deconditioning and multi-cultural experiences that tend to create an open consciousness. A few fortunate people actually manage to “live outside the box” as the eventual outcome of stubbornly refusing to conform to social pressures in their respective cultures of origin. But, most of us are stuck with the Box – our perceptual habits.

            This article is concerned with the process of obtaining revelations of insight, and we must necessarily exit the perceptual Box to do so. Let us begin with the consideration of what a box is – a bounded area composed of inclusive walls that serve to contain something or someone.  This is not necessarily bad – the box can provide protection from many things that would otherwise harm the organism – but this protection always comes at a price. This price is the loss of personal freedom. This price is the loss of the joy of discovery. If we are to continue to survive psychologically, we must at least periodically get out of the Box and experience a free perspective on life. The walls that protect also kill consciousness eventually. Even if what we experience are “soft” walls, e.g. fences, hedges, trenches and the like, that we can at least partially perceive through, this will still result in stultification if true perceptual freedom is not finally attained. We simply must be free to explore and experience when and where we are called to.  

            The process of exiting the box begins with the realization that it exists and we are in it. I have heard the Box referred to as “The Cosmic Egg”, and this captures a very important aspect of our enclosure – we do not see it, because it has always been there – taken for granted in the mix of assumptions that we inherit from our culture. We think we experience the entire universe, but we are only experiencing our mental reflections on the inner shell of the Egg. So we must begin the exit process by recognizing and questioning our assumptions about life anywhere and everywhere we notice them – initially a scary thing to do for most of us, steeped as we are in social conditioning!  

            Sometimes we get help from outside of the Box, even if we do not know that there is an “outside” per se. This help frequently comes in the form of persistent synchronicities that catch our attention and disturb our comfortable hypnotic state as we sleepwalk around in the Box. Sometimes we are subjected to profound personal disruptions as well. There appears to be a continuum of disturbances that range from merely irritating to lethal that all have the common factor of initiating interruption in the Box. No one really knows why a given disturbance occurs in the life of a given human being, although Karma is often given as the blanket explanation for such things. I have often noticed that resisting the awakening process once it has begun seems to result in more and more severe disruptions, both personally and extra-personally. I have learned over the years to acknowledge synchronicities and follow their indications as the best way to circumvent large scale events that are much more disruptive, and I advise everyone I know to cultivate this trait – it can do nothing but assist the awakening process once it has begun. Even so, the excursion out of the Box tends to be a rough ride! But, the sleeper must awaken – we will all eventually walk out of the Box, if not in this incarnation, then a future one.  

            The synchronicity amounts to probing the walls of the Box. The synchronicity leaks into the Box through the imperfections in the walls, and can be followed back out through those same imperfections.  It is my opinion that the sequence of synchronous events can neither be accelerated nor prevented. Although we can try to, and early on there is a pronounced tendency to, speed things up, there seems to be a cosmically predetermined pace involved. It is best to let things unfold at this “natural” pace – as the quote at the beginning of this article says “Don’t push the river” – just let it flow along as it does, and flow with it. The Dao also refers to this natural unfolding process, and is sometimes called “The Watercourse Way” for that reason – we are involved in the “flow” of the universal stream of consciousness. Awakening, and the pace of awakening, results from the most powerful forces at work in the universe, and beyond the universe. Respect those forces, and you will be well, if occasionally bruised a bit! Defy them, and disaster will result. Don’t push the river...  

            As the “trail of disruptions” (i.e. synchronicities) is followed, a progressive series of epiphanies will occur. These are generally positive discoveries about living, but can be sources of profound disappointment for those with unrealistic expectations. There is a kind of progressive testing and toughening that takes place in conjunction with the awakening process. Life outside the Box is definitely not for the faint of heart! There are many layers of illusion and misconception that constitute the Box, and all must be overcome on the way out. Just take things as they come and focus on letting go of what never really was there anyway, however real as it may have seemed to be. 

            If a given individual has fundamentally benevolent Karma, a psychic “draw bridge” can be built over the walls and out of the Box that will permit relatively convenient exit from and reentry into the enclosure. If things get too unsettling in the free zone, one can simply retreat back into the fortress, and pull up the bridge! Perhaps less fortunate individuals may have to break down the walls, and live with the results thereafter. I say “perhaps” because the exchange of freedom for security is always such a melancholy one – life back in the enclosure is never the same after one has had a taste of freedom, bridge or no bridge.  

            The epiphanies will eventually compose the framework of an alternative reality that both leads to the world outside the Box, and is the world outside of the Box. As soon as one departs ego-based linear logic, a dizzying blur of more or less chaotic conditions is encountered that frequently display simultaneous, but conflicting, information to our consciousness. So it is that the Path out can also be the Destination.  I advise people who have such perplexing experiences in meditation to simply accept them at face value without dwelling on them excessively.  The point of this process is the construction of a Gateway to the outside that will always be assessable – the aforementioned Draw Bridge is simply another example of such a condition, one of many possibilities. 

            What lies outside of the Box is everything the ego is not. This can amount to quite a bit of material! We have already briefly investigated the Astral Akasha in a previous article. In fact, the Astral Plane is the first psychic region encountered beyond the Box, and is a very complex expression of consciousness, to be sure. Depending on the extent of an individual’s Karmic and psychological grounding, the Astral Body may be present. This is an image very much like the physical body perceived in the senses, but is experienced as essentially massless, and free to float far away from the Physical Plane and the associated physical body, to which it remains attached by the Astral Chord. This latter is much like the fetal umbilical chord, with the exception that it is perceived as capable of light extending to astronomical lengths, allowing extended travel through the Astral Plane.

            There is a variance of opinion regarding the meaning of the Astral Akasha. Some investigators feel that any activity that takes place in the Astral Plane necessarily takes place in the Akasha – the Akasha is the Astral Plane. Others feel that the Akasha is simply an aspect of the Astral Plane, among many others. This writer feels that both are correct – the hallmark of the Astral State is the simultaneous validity of all perception without regard to any apparent conflicts. What we are really initially experiencing in the Astral State is the first exposure to personal and collective archetypal images. The latter originate from deep within the collective unconscious, well beyond the reach of the ego, and must be accepted for their symbolic significance, not their literal content.  

            Things become increasingly theoretical beyond the Astral Plane. Some investigators feel that there is only the Astral Plane, and that even the Logos is simply another, albeit perhaps more focal, Astral manifestation – essentially the King on the Astral chessboard. Other investigators believe that they have traveled beyond the Astral perception into other, higher, planes of psychic expression, as part of the Ascension process of the Soul as It returns to the Logos from which It originated. I personally like the Hindu Chakra System. It contains enough differentiation of expression to account for all of the variety of experience that I have perceived in my many psychic journeys, without the burdensome complexity of some of the other models of consciousness. This even applies to the well known Tree of Life model from the Cabala. This is a powerful depiction of the Psyche, but is also an intellectualization of what is a fundamentally experiential process. The Chakras are also grounded in the literal physical practices seen in Yoga – the Asanas, or postures, and the Yoga extended lifestyle. This system tends to maintain a real-world orientation that can be lost in the study of Cabala. At the other extreme are the Shamanistic systems that are often so physically grounded that they can fail to define Ascension at all, even while remaining spiritual in character. These systems can also become very dark through their Physical Plane orientation, resulting in the practice of Black Magic for personal gain. Yoga and the Chakras seem to be a good middle ground amid all of the theoretical descriptions of consciousness.  

            Such an effective method of classification is needed. One cannot travel the Planes without incurring certain moral burdens along the way. Let us say that certain moral choices must be made early on, and that these choices will influence the experiences to follow. We must make these choices whether we know it or not – even ven not choosing amounts to a choice to abnegate moral considerations, resulting in a defacto choice to follow the Path of Darkness. In Astral life, as in Physical life, we must choose between the Light and the Darkness as our basic working modalities. Although the choice to aspire to Darkness can certainly be made, it will, in fact, hold the Soul in the Lower Astral region of consciousness until it is forsaken. Ultimately, this is still a consideration of Karma, and the Darkness must be experienced at some point – this experience actually makes the perception of the Light possible – but compassion and Agape love can only be known when the level of the Heart is attained. This corresponds to the Chakra Anahata in Hinduism, and the Sephiroth of Tipereth in Cabala. Both are well beyond the Lower Astral region.  

            One condition that can be recognized beyond the Physical Plane is the ongoing influence of the Archetypes on consciousness. This is why I have used the Jungian Spherical model of the Psyche as often as possible – it treats consciousness as consciousness with as little metaphysical interpretation as possible. To Jung, even the Chakras and Sephira were still ultimately archetypal symbols in the archetypal symbol systems present in the Psyche. Even the Logos was another archetypal symbol – the root archetypal manifestation present at the core of all perception, but still at least slightly subject to cultural interpretation. Only at the stage of completely non-dual awareness experienced in Buddhist Satori are we truly free of culture. Although this state can be experienced, it tends to defy description – but probably is a good goal to seek, and certainly a point of reference for the Astral traveler to use in reckoning spiritual experiences.  

            The Chakras are examples of what can be called Primary Archetypes, progressive sets of symbols that direct consciousness back to the Core of the Psyche. Although this is not an absolute analogy, the Chakra Svadhisthana, the Second Chakra, is representative of the Astral Plane. It is also representative of the physical genitalia and sexual stimulation. Hinduism allows for essentially two routes to Enlightenment called Tantric  Paths – the Left Hand Path, and the Right Hand Path. The Left Hand experience involves direct sexual expression, while the Right Hand experience involves symbolic Astral expression on the Astral Plane. Interestingly, Freud characterized all spirituality as sublimated (directly symbolized) sexuality, and the dual nature of Svadhisthana would seem to validate this contention. 

            Tantric theory maintains that the Right Hand Path – essentially Yoga practice – must  eventually become the exclusive route to Enlightenment, as we look within for the full expression of the Chakras, something not attainable through any external methodology, including sexuality.  The problem with Freudian Theory is that it limits consciousness to the external manifestations of only the first three Chakras, essentially classifying the remaining four as psychological aberrations occurring beyond the pervue of science. Beyond that pervue they may well be, but not invalid for that reason! The investigation of the Planes of Ascension as expressions of the evolution of the Soul and the Psyche is absolutely the single most important human endeavor of all, and represents the highest motivation of our species amid the challenge of incarnation. The revelation is the essence of spiritual discovery, and will be increasingly manifested in a multitude of expressions as we travel beyond the Box. I invite you to make this journey!

 

                                          - With Love, Alan -

                                  (CR2008, Alan Schneider)

 

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